Edo intensifies plans for Okpekpe race

The Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has said plans are ongoing for the successful hosting of the eighth 10km Okpekpe International Road Race, hosted annually by the state government. The road race, the first in West Africa to be granted a label by World Athletics and designated as one of the leading road races around the world, was last held in 2019 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Edo intensifies plans for Okpekpe race
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has said plans are ongoing for the successful hosting of the eighth 10km Okpekpe International Road Race, hosted annually by the state government. The road race, the first in West Africa to be granted a label by World Athletics and designated as one of the leading road races around the world, was last held in 2019 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Shaibu, in a statement on Wednesday, said the government was concluding plans to institutionalise the competition. “The Okpekpe race is something that has come to stay. We have had a discussion with the organisers and agreed that we have to institutionalise the race; the process is on to enable the race an enduring one. “The Edo State Government will continue to support the race. We have agreed that the prize money and other logistics that will be used in supporting the race will still be given; there are other areas that we have assured to partner with the organisers of the race.” He added, “We are struggling to put everything in place to make sure that we quickly get our gold label and after that, our target is to be a platinum race. The potential of this race cannot be over emphasised; Okpekpe has a great tourism and economic value. The race will enable us to showcase our infrastructural developments. “We are ready to host the Okpekpe 10km road race. We are going to take the issue of doping very seriously in this race. We have always maintained integrity and insisted that any athlete that wants to participate should come clean. “We are putting all the medical facilities in place to make sure we deal with it. We will be doing a rapid test for all the officials and athletes that will be participating,” he added. Earlier, the organiser of the race, Mike Itemuagbor stated, “The pandemic is the reason we have not been able to host this race for the past two years. The pandemic has no respect for anybody; as much as we want to promote good health, it’s not our intention to compromise the health of runners and the good people of Edo.”